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Tell It Like It Is

In 1964 The Dixie Cups, a female vocal trio from New Orleans, crooned out a cheerful version of "Chapel of Love" and knocked the Beatles from their number one spot on the pop charts. A year later, the trio released "lko lko," a song first released in 1954 by James "Sugar Boy" Crawford as "Jock-A-Mo," whose lyrics recount the meeting of two groups of Mardi Gras Indians. Since then, this song has been covered by artists from the Grateful Dead to Cyndi Lauper, and continues to move new generations with its infectious New Orleans rhythms. The career of The Dixie Cups, and their direct and indirect roles in carrying rhythm and blues (R&B) into mainstream consciousness, speaks to the enduring power of this music to transcend region and musical category and become a representative sound of the country.

The Dixie Cups are among the impressive line-up of artists participating in this summer's Smithsonian Folklife Festival. The Rhythm and Blues: Tell It Like It Is program is an exploration of the rich

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